BSE Sensex falls most in over a month, ICICI Bank, RIL, ITC share prices drop

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BSE Sensex and NSE Nifty marked their biggest single-day fall since Nov. 21. Reuters BSE Sensex and NSE Nifty marked their biggest single-day fall since Nov. 21. Reuters
SummaryBSE Sensex fell as profit-booking hit ICICI Bank, RIL, ITC, L&T share prices.

off in the last few hours of trading. Selling was seen across sectors but was more pronounced in sectors like Banks and Capital Goods. The fall was sudden and unexpected, as there were no triggers or news for the fall. However, we have been cautious on the markets because of the run-up seen over the past few weeks (even in cyclical sectors) and no major improvement in the domestic ground level economic realities.

HIGHLIGHTS

* BSE index falls 1.19 pct; NSE ends 1.28 pct lower

* Global shares fall as China disappoints

* Midcap Indian state-owned banks rise on valuations

Indian shares fall most in nearly 1-1/2 months; blue chips hit

(Reuters) Indian shares fell more than 1 percent on Thursday, posting their biggest single-day percentage fall in nearly 1-1/2 months as profit-booking hit blue chips such as ICICI Bank for a second consecutive day, in a weak start to 2014.

Combined with Wednesday's fall, the benchmark BSE index is down 1.3 percent over the first two trading sessions of the year, after gaining 8.9 percent last year on the back of strong foreign buying.

Falls on Thursday were accentuated by weaker European and Asian shares after disappointing manufacturing data from China.

Shares have started the year with caution ahead of upcoming quarterly earnings, with analysts also keenly awaiting inflation data due mid-month that will help determine whether the Reserve Bank of India raises interest rates at the end of January.

Any rate hikes could further undermine confidence in economic growth. Data on Thursday showed the HSBC Manufacturing Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI), compiled by Markit, fell to 50.7 in December from 51.3 in the previous month, reflecting softness in new domestic orders.

"Earnings would be more important from equity market's perspective as market has discounted some cooling off in inflation. We are expecting some positive surprises in Oct-Dec results," said Sudip Bandyopadhyay, managing director at Destimoney Securities Pvt Ltd.

The benchmark BSE index fell 1.19 percent, or 252.15 points, to end at 20,888.33, erasing earlier gains of as much as 0.9 percent.

The broader NSE index lost 1.28 percent, or 80.50 points, to end at 6,221.15, posting its lowest close since Dec

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